Government of Canada marks the first International Equal Pay Day and reappoints Canada’s Pay Equity Commissioner

News release

September 18, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, we celebrate the first International Equal Pay Day by recognizing how far Canadian women have come in the last 40 years. Canada is proud to be an active member of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC)and to have supported the adoption of the resolution proclaiming September 18th as International Equal Pay Day.

To mark this day, the Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi, announced the reappointment of Karen Jensen as Canada’s federal Pay Equity Commissioner. Ms. Jensen, who was first appointed to the position in October 2019, will continue to provide leadership and direction on the new Pay Equity Act.

With her reappointment, Ms. Jensen will continue the important preparatory work for the coming into force of the Pay Equity Act. Once the Pay Equity Act is in force, Ms. Jensen will hold a subsequent appointment as Pay Equity Commissioner for a period of three years from that date. Working within the Canadian Human Rights Commission and supported by the Pay Equity Division, she will assist workplace parties in understanding their rights and obligations under the Act and facilitate the resolution of disputes related to pay equity.

The greater participation of women in the workforce has accounted for about one-third of Canada’s economic growth over the last 40 years
. Despite this progress, the gender wage gap persists, leaving women at a disadvantage. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has also disproportionately impacted women.

Ensuring workers in federally regulated workplaces receive equal pay for work of equal value is an important part in the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality in Canada. When Canadian women can count on equal pay for work of equal value, our economy grows stronger, families prosper and communities thrive.


“Equal Pay Day is a time to acknowledge that advancing gender equality is not just good for women, it’s good for all Canadians. The reappointment of Canada’s federal Pay Equity Commissioner, Karen Jensen, will ensure that we are able to continue to move forward on our commitment to implement proactive pay equity in the federal jurisdiction at a time when we are facing unimaginable challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her work is critical to ensure workplaces are ready for the Pay Equity Act, and she will play a key role in ensuring it is applied fairly and effectively once it comes into force.”
–Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi 

“It is an honour to continue to serve as the Federal Pay Equity Commissioner. COVID-19 has made pay equity more important than ever. Closing the gender pay gap is essential to our country’s economic and social recovery. When women are able to thrive, everyone thrives.”
–Karen Jensen, Pay Equity Commissioner

Quick facts

  • The Pay Equity Act, which received Royal Assent in 2018, creates a proactive pay equity regime that will ensure that women and men working in federally regulated workplaces, including the federal public and private sectors, parliamentary workplaces and the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value. 

  • The regulations required to bring the Act into force are being developed based on stakeholder feedback. The government is making progress on the supporting regulations, which stakeholders and other interested parties will have the opportunity to comment through the usual regulation making process.

  • Based on the most recent data, in Canada, for every dollar a man earned, a woman earned 88 cents on the dollar as measured in hourly wages. When comparing overall earnings on an annual basis, women earned even less – just 69 cents for every dollar earned by men.

  • The Government is committed to open, transparent and merit-based processes for selecting Governor in Council (GIC) appointees. GIC appointees play a fundamental role in our democracy as they serve on commissions, boards, Crown corporations, agencies and tribunals across the country.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Dustin Fitzpatrick
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Filomena Tassi, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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